Specifying timber veneer can be seem to be a challenging activity, however with some guidance you can ensure your project vision is realised. Our members are always ready to assist designers, architects, specifiers, and others with completing their specification. Below is an overview of some of the key details you need to consider.

There is a vast range of veneer species to choose from, as well as a number of cutting methods and splicing techniques, which serve to provide countless design possibilities.

Each species has unique features and characteristics and the manner in which the timber is sliced will produce completely different grain characteristics. In addition, the way the veneer leaves are joined and how they are stained or dyed, will produce many variations and provide thousands of design possibilities.

To ensure your veneer project meets your expectations it is important to specify the following items:

  • Name of veneer species
  • Type of cut e.g. crown cut, quarter cut, rotary cut
  • Veneer supplier and contact details
  • Log or batch number (if natural veneer selected)
  • Matching type e.g. book match, slip match, random match
  • Sequence matched (not required for reconstructed veneer)
  • Direction of grain – long band or cross-band (if applicable) as shown on drawings
  • Substrate e.g. MDF, particleboard, plywood
  • Edging type and thickness
  • Polish type and gloss level – open or filled grain
  • Contractor to supply indicative finished samples of selected veneer prior to manufacturing.

With some planning and preparation, you will be able to find the perfect veneer for your projects. The key to the process is communication. To select the right veneer talk with your supplier to help determine your specific wants and needs.


Start with supplier catalogues or brochures and request samples of existing stock. Visit the supplier to fully understand the many natural features and characteristics of your preferred species and use these them to enhance your project.


Timber veneer is a natural product that varies from log to log. We suggest discussing your requirements with a supplier to become fully aware of variations in colour, natural figure, and the natural characteristics that occur.


Timber veneer can be produced by slicing or peeling selected logs. Logs can be flitched to produce quarter cut (generally straight grain) or crown cut veneer. Rotary peeled logs will produce a non-descript swirl pattern. Ask your veneer supplier to show you samples of various cuts so you can understand the different results.


Birdseye, burls, burrs, pommele, quilted, figured, and flame are some of the unique characteristics that can occur in timber veneer. Refer to our glossary for descriptions. Take the time to appreciate these features before you incorporate them into your project to ensure the end result aligns with your design vision.


Consider the lengths required, the veneer’s availability, and the amount needed to complete the job. Consider how the veneer should be prepared to deliver your desired effect and if the sheets need to be sequence matched. Discuss the options with your supplier.


Veneer is pressed onto a substrate. Particleboard, Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and Plywood are a few common substrates to consider. Consider the use and location to select an appropriate substrate.


Apart from specifying the species, substrate, and grade, the dimensions of the veneered board should be ordered “length by width by thickness”. The nominated dimension specifies in which direction the veneer grain runs, e.g. 2400 x 1200 – the veneer length is 2400mm long and can be referred to as long band. Nominating 1200 x 2400 indicates that the length of the veneer is 1200mm – this is referred to as cross band where the length of the panel in the grain direction is less than the width of the panel. The above represents the practice in Australia – some countries do specify differently, so it is always recommended that where doubt may exist, the grain direction should be clarified before ordering.


Your supplier can suggest species of veneer that align with your project budget.